2003 Europeans Summary


Battle of the Brits to commence in Spain

The battle between the British 49er teams will continue this week as they compete at the 49er European Championships in Spain.

Both Chris Draper sailing with the Sydney Olympic silver medallist Simon Hiscocks and Paul Brotherton sailing with Mark Asquith have been enjoying a great tussle this year as the teams battle it out for the all-important Olympic spot to represent Great Britain in the 49er class next year in Athens.

So far this year, the results have been fairly even, although Draper and Hiscocks seem to have the edge after recently winning the last two Olympic class regattas in Holland and Germany. Brotherton and Asquith have never been far behind and with fellow British teammates Alister Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh also seeing a return to form after finishing sixth at Kiel week last month, this event will be a real test to see who is the dominating British team.

On the international front there will be a strong presence from the Spanish teams with the current world champions Iker Martinez/Xabier Fernandez looking to defend their European title. As well as the British pairings, they will have to fend of the challenges from their teammates Santiago Lopez Vazquez/Javier De La Plaza, as well as the world number one ranked sailors Rodion Luka/George Leonchuk of Ukraine.

The championship gets underway today hosted from the Real Club Nautico de Laredo with three days of qualifying races. The final series commences from Thursday 17 through to Saturday 19 July.

Final Day

British sailors win silver medal at Europeans

Team GBR sailors Chris Draper and Olympic silver medallist Simon Hiscocks have won the silver medal at the 49er European championships, matching their result at this event last year.

Draper and Hiscocks led the event throughout the week in a mixture of conditions, but with a further four races to sail on the last day there was all to play for and anything could happen.

In light conditions, Draper and Hiscocks scored an 8,11,8,15, which was enough to prevent the Spanish pairing of Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez from defending their European title, but meant that their training partners Marcus Baur and Max Groy of Germany overtook them and won the gold medal along with the European title.

Fellow British sailor Paul Brotherton and crew Mark Asquith sailed a brilliant final day winning two of the four races, to make a huge jump up the fleet from fourteenth place overall to finish fourth finally. RYA Development Squad sailors Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes finished in tenth place overall with teammates Alister Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh fifteenth.

Draper commented, “We went into today with the same mindset as treating it as any other race day. Unfortunately, we didn’t get off the start line as well as we could have done and therefore made a bit more work for ourselves. We are still really pleased to have come second and to continue to be so consistent at the regattas this year, you can’t win them all but there are definitely some things we will take away from this regatta

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